Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making Find-A-Grave Better

I have received many emails asking about how to make corrections to Find-A-Grave. This post will show you what sort of corrections you can make and how to make them, I think that everyone that uses Find-A-Grave should also take the time to help make it better.

How to make corrections to individual memorials
If you find an error on an individual memorial, the first thing you do is hit the EDIT tab and send a message to the creator explaining what is wrong. If it is a simple data entry error (date on memorial doesn't match date on the photo of the marker) you can just point it out to them. If there is some other error like a mistake in the family links, the person is in the wrong cemetery, or there is something wrong with the information that has been added in the bio area, then you will also need to send them your evidence explaining why you think it is in error. If you are a DIRECT descendant, you can ask the contributor to transfer the memorial to you so that you can make any edits you want. The contributor is under no obligation to do so (he/she may be a direct descendant as well). If the contributor is no longer active, if the contributor fails to respond to your request or if the contributor refuses to change the memorial, you can send an email to Be aware that if the contributor is still an active member on Find-A-Grave, the only thing they will change is obvious data entry errors if there is a photograph available. They will not infringe on an active member any more than that. If the member is inactive they will make the changes you have requested. If the member is inactive, you can request that the memorial be transferred to you and then you can make the corrections yourself.

How to make corrections to cemeteries
If the name of the cemetery is wrong, there are duplicate cemeteries that need to be combined, if the cemetery has the wrong GPS coordinates or no GPS coordinates at all, you fix these by going to the Cemetery Fix/Updates/Corrections forum. You must be logged into Find-A-Grave to use this. When you post, you MUST put links to the cemetery pages you are referring to or your post will be ignored. Mark has hundreds of requests and he doesn't have time to research what you are talking about. Make your post short, sweet, and to the point. On the first page of the forum, there is a detailed list of do's and don'ts. I would make sure you follow these guidelines to the T or your request will be ignored. Keep track of your request and check the cemetery in a couple of weeks. If it hasn't been fixed, put in a 2nd request, NICELY say is it the 2nd request and put the date of your first request. Mark sometimes closes the forum down to new posts when he is at the overwhelmed point. This gives him time to get caught back up. Make a note of your corrections and try back again in a few days.

Others ways you can make Find-A-Grave better

  • Become an active member and manage memorials yourself. I manage a large number of memorials for my direct line (transferred to me as I requested them) and I also manage all of the memorials I add from cemetery surveys. I happily transfer these memorials to direct line family members so that they can add things that I don't know.
  • Before you add a new cemetery or a new memorial, please check to make sure someone else hasn't already added this information. The F-A-G people have enough to without you adding to their work.
  • If you add information to a memorial that is not present on the tombstone, make sure you cite your sources for the information.
  • Request photographs for any memorials you are interested in that don't have one.
  • Sign up to be a photographer.

Here is my Contributor Profile Page. You can see how long I have been a member, how many memorials I have added, how many I actually manage, how many active photo requests I have submitted, how many photos I have taken, and how many photo requests I have fulfilled. The number of virtual flowers are the times I have left a message on a memorial page. At the bottom you will see how F-A-G people talk to each other via a mini public board.

This is an example of a memorial that I created because I know the person is buried in this cemetery. I have requested a photograph of the marker but it hasn't been fulfilled yet.

This is an example of memorial I created and I added the photograph. This one is my family so I won't be giving up the memorial.

This is an example of a memorial I created and I added the photograph but this was just a cemetery I surveyed and I have no connection to this person. I would give this memorial up to the first direct descendant that contacts me.

This is an example of a memorial I didn't create but it was transferred to me because I am a direct descendant. William Houston Simmons was my paternal grandfather.

This is an example of a memorial that someone else created and I took the photograph for them.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. The example link goes to this:

    Memorial not found.
    The memorial you are looking for does not exist in our system. This could be because of a malformed URL, an old link, etc. Please start a new search to try to find the name you are looking for.

  2. Thanks for catching that! After I linked to that memorial, I actually REMOVED it from Find-A-Grave because I had put the person in the wrong cemetery. I was going by an obituary and the obituary was wrong. When the F-A-G volunteer went out he couldn't find it so he didn't some sleuthing on his own and he figured out the correct cemetery. I forgot all about it. I have now corrected the link. This is the same memorial only in a different cemetery.